Count It: Celebrating the MS-Anniversary

  • I wonder if 13 years from now I’ll wish I had today back.


    Will I be saying I should have thought, should have said, should have done differently today?


    I wonder.


    Not that there’s anything so wrong or significant about today … yet. As Jennifer and I have learned, and we’ve all seen too often lately, that life can change in the blink of an eye. 


    It was 13 years ago – Dec. 17, 1999 – that my physician called me to say the radiologist report from my MRI scans indicated what was causing the tingling and numbness in my extremities “most likely” was multiple sclerosis.


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    With that phone call, everything about that day became significant. My mind quickly absorbed the reality that if I indeed was going to be diagnosed with having MS, it wasn’t going to be like having something like a cold or a broken bone. MS likely would never go away and never will heal itself.


    So I sobbed. I called my closest family members, and they sobbed with me. We comforted each other in the middle of convulsively catching our breath while weeping. Through the tears that were cried in response to the news, that day in my life was a wash. How else could have we responded? Then came the day after.


    Each day’s a new beginning

    It was Dec. 18, 1999. Looking back on that day – now 13 years later – I am glad to say I don’t need to have that day back. There is nothing I should have thought, said or done differently that day.


    That was when I defined the direction of my new life.


    I remember waking up that morning. It was a Saturday. I went downstairs the same as I did the first day of every other weekend. And I made a pot of coffee.


    My eyes slightly burned from the previous daylong cry fest, but I was brewing coffee.


    Nothing had changed. I still was me. I only “likely” had MS. And so I moved forward. Started doing more. Because I could. Self-imposed limitations were the only things standing in my way.


    Go for a walk? Yeah, I should. Call an old friend? Absolutely. Try a new recipe?  Sounds delicious.


    So often we trust and put our lives into the hands of the professionals who make our safety and wellbeing their business. The physicians. Nurses. Firefighters. Law enforcement officers. Airline pilots. Caregivers. They have big responsibilities with our lives.


    But I have a greater responsibility than all those professionals combined. So do each of us. I am in charge of and responsible for me and how I respond to things in my life. And so, when I was formally diagnosed with having MS – it was Feb. 14, 2000 – I maintained my newly charted course in my life. And I’m still on track.


    This isn’t to say I haven’t hit rough spots and have had to leave some things behind in my journey. But my eyes are fixed on maximizing the potential of each new day.


    With each day, I move forward. Continue doing more. Because I can.


    Today is mine, and I can’t get it back. Through the sorrows and the celebrations, it’s up to me to make it count.

Published On: December 17, 2012